The Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers series went the distance. It took the full seven-game schedule for this series to be decided. In the end, the Raptors were left standing as they won game seven. They will move on to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. The 76ers now face questions. This series was one for the ages. What did we learn from both teams? What will the future hold for them? Let’s reflect on this exciting Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
Series Review: Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers
The Raptors opened the series with a 13-point win over the 76ers. As a team, the 76ers shot 39.3 percent from the floor. No one in their starting lineup reached 20 points. But, the 76ers turned things around by winning the next two games. After the 76ers took a 2-1 series lead, many questioned the Raptors. Outside of Kawhi Leonard, every key player had an underwhelming performance. Pascal Siakam struggled with his shooting and role players such as Marc Gasol and Danny Green did not provide much lift. The Raptors righted the ship as they took games four and five to regain the series lead. Facing elimination, the 76ers stepped up in game six and forced a game seven. Game seven was close for most of its duration until Leonard took over and ended the 76ers’ playoff run in the closing seconds.
The Klaw Made His Mark
Leonard continued his dominance in this series. He finished the series with an average of 34.7 points per game while shooting 54%. Leonard also averaged 9.9 rebounds per game. His outstanding performance in this series was capped off with a 41-point performance in game seven, which included the game-winning jump shot. Many would consider either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo as the best player in the NBA. In this year’s playoffs, Leonard has shifted that conversation. He is on pace to finish with perhaps the greatest playoff performance in NBA history.
What’s Next For the Raptors?
The Raptors will face the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. This will be an exciting match-up for a number of reasons. Both of these teams have played well so far defensively. In the playoffs, the Raptors have allowed 96.5 points per game. The Bucks have allowed 101.6 points per game. The Bucks held their opponents to 39.9% shooting. The Raptors their opponents to 41.1% shooting. Also, two of the NBA’s finest will square off. Leonard and Antetokounmpo will have their hands full with one another. The Raptors are one step closer to erasing their past playoff struggles and punching their ticket to the NBA Finals.
What’s Next For The 76ers?
Once again, the 76ers exit the playoffs in the second round. This year, their expectations were higher and they fell short. Despite having arguably the best starting five in the NBA offensively, the 76ers only scored 100 points or more twice against the Raptors. Joel Embiid surprisingly struggled, only averaging 17.6 points per game on 36.3% shooting.
The 76ers have a number of concerns heading into the off-season. Their two biggest issues involve rotation. Their starting-five consists of four ball-dominant players. They failed to capitalize on their talents as a unit. Acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris altered the chemistry to no avail. Both players are set to be free agents this summer. At least one of these players will likely not return. Also, the 76ers must improve their bench. They do not have a player who can provide a lift offensively in their reserve unit. More changes will come in Philly this off-season.